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What Are The Streaming Sports Implications Of The Warner, Discovery Merger?

The deal would make Discovery the second-largest media entity in the United States.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Apple Insider

This week’s announcement of the WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. merger could have ripple effects for sports streaming. AT&T is spinning off its entire media arm and selling it to Discovery in an industry-shaking move. The deal won’t go through until next year but analysts believe the merger could reshape sports streaming

AT&T pulled the trigger on the deal to relieve debt and generate roughly $43 billion. The agreement includes TurnerSports assets.

“This deal has profound implications on the sports industry,” Bruin Capital founder George Pyne said on Twitter. “The new entity can invest in adding more global sports rights to its NHL, NBA, MLB, PGA Tour and NCAA [Division I Men’s Basketball] Tournament content and create a must-have sports streaming service.”

The merger likely means an eventual combination of Discovery+ and HBO Max into one app for all of Discovery’s subscribers. The question is whether WarnerMedia’s sports-media holdings are going to move to a Discovery-branded over-the-top service. Our neighbors across the pond are bullish on this path. Discovery is the owner of Eurosport, the continent’s exclusive broadcaster of the Olympics.

“With the news that AT&T and Discovery are to merge, the landscape for sports media rights and sports broadcasting in the largest media rights market on earth is changing significantly,” said Conrad Wiacek, head of sports analysis at the London-based data and analytics firm Global data. “With sports content at the forefront of the OTT revolution, Discovery and AT&T merging now will create a new ecosystem for sports, such as esports, to gain a foothold in the US.”

The board of directors for both companies have approved the deal, creating the second-largest media company in the country behind Disney. Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav and AT&T chief John Stankey didn’t go into much detail about sports programming in the announcement, but did say sports is one of the “true differentiators of the future.”

Sports TV News

Stugotz: ‘Sean McDonough Hates The Aaron Judge Cut-Ins’

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

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College football fans are not being shy with how they feel about Aaron Judge. Whether it is private conversations or social media posts, people are making their disdain for the cut-ins to college football games on ESPN networks when the Yankee slugger comes to bat known. On Monday morning, Stugotz added that it isn’t just fans that are unhappy.

The Dan Le Batard Show discussed the second straight week of cut-ins on Monday morning. Stugotz pointed out that one of ESPN’s primary college football voices sounds just as annoyed as fans are.

“Sean McDonough hates the toss to Aaron Judge,” he said. Hates it!”

Last week, ESPN and ABC cut into games when Judge was sitting on 60 home runs. This week, he was sitting on 61. A 62nd home run would be the most in American League history.

Stugotz added that has to be part of McDonough’s frustration.

“In his defense, what are we cutting in for? I have no idea if [Aaron Judge] is breaking a record, what record he’s breaking, if he’s clean. I have no idea!”

Producer Mike Ryan Ruiz said the fact that Judge is yet to deliver is making the cut-ins more frustrating for fans.

“I think what hurts the whole thing is that Aaron Judge has been terrible during these cut-ins,” Ruiz said. “He’s been God awful during these cut-ins. I haven’t seen a single home runs during one of these cut-ins. There was genuine fury at a watch party I was at. Fury! At Aaron Judge.”

A popular criticism of ESPN has been that this kind of attention would not be paid to Aaron Judge if he was chasing a mark that wasn’t the home run record if he played anywhere other than New York. According to Ryan, the mistake is bigger than that. Why would regular season baseball ever interrupt college football?

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

There are four games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. You can bet college football fans will make plenty of signs for College GameDay if Judge cannot hit number 62 before the playoffs start.

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Sports TV News

Terry Bradshaw Is Cancer Free

Bradshaw’s candor comes after struggling through a sentence during the September 25th edition of the show, in which Howie Long helped finish his sentence.

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During FOX NFL Sunday, Terry Bradshaw revealed he was diagnosed with two different forms of cancer in the last year.

However, after surgeries and treatments, Bradshaw said he is now cancer free.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer said he was diagnosed with bladder cancer in November of last year and surgery and treatments removed the cancer. Then, in March of this year, a tumor was found on the left-side of his neck. Bradshaw called it a “Merkel cell tumor”, which he had removed.

Bradshaw’s candor comes after struggling through a sentence during the September 25th edition of the show, in which Howie Long helped finish his sentence.

The 74-year-old has worked on FOX NFL Sunday since its inception in 1994. He will be inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame later this year.

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Sports TV News

Scott Van Pelt’s ‘Bad Beats’ Becoming 30-Minute Monthly Show

Van Pelt, alongside “Stanford Steve” Coughlin, recaps the toughest losses suffered by sports gamblers with unconventional final moments and unexpected outcomes as it pertains to the over/under or point spread.

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The popular “Bad Beats” segment from SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt is being turned into a monthly half-hour show on ESPN.

Van Pelt, alongside “Stanford Steve” Coughlin, recaps the toughest losses suffered by sports gamblers with unconventional final moments and unexpected outcomes as it pertains to the over/under or point spread, otherwise known as a “bad beat”. Generally, the segment lasts around 5-10 minutes. ESPN will repurpose the content from the show to package it into a half-hour edition.

The new monthly show debuted yesterday at 5:30 PM ET on ESPN.

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